A School for All? Different Worlds: Segregation on Basis of Freedom of Choice

  • Marianne Dovemark
Part of the Policy Implications of Research in Education book series (PIRE, volume 1)


This chapter uses ethnographic research from two public secondary schools. The study is based on long-term participant observation and interviews. All interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. The data focused in the present chapter has been developed principally around interviews and transcription field notes. It describes the cultural production in two 8th-grade classes and links it to the cultural and social reproduction. Despite the discourse of ‘a school for all’ and with the objectives of equality in view, the study shows a strong differentiation and segregation on the basis of class boundaries with ethnic overtones. Freedom of choice in relation to the school voucher system, responsibility and flexibility has made it possible to create a kind of ‘magnet school’ with the side effect that the ‘poor school’ in the neighbourhood was further drained. Even though the teachers at both schools demonstrated commitment with regard to creating well-functioning school activities, the study shows quite different outcomes. The most striking result is the large differences in practice in terms of pedagogical organisational principles and content of knowledge, expectations and demands placed on pupils, status, etc.


Field Note Cultural Capital Grade Criterion Organisational Principle Answer Task 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education and Special EducationUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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